Once you know what you would like to study, it’s important to find a supervisor who is an expert in the area, and can guide you through the three-year programme. This is the first step in the application process. The School of English hosts a broad spectrum of researchers with expertise across Linguistics, Literature (including Creative Writing and Film), Literary Linguistics, Theatre, and the intersections between these fields.

Literature and Creative Writing

Contemporary Theatre and Performance; Adaptation;
Applied Theatre Practices; Devising and Documentation.

Postcolonial Literatures and Cultures (particularly South Asia and West Africa), Global Modernisms, Childhood in Contemporary Fiction and Film, Children's Literature

Nineteenth-Century Poetry, Print Culture;
Nonsense Literature

Stylistics; The Eighteenth-Century Novel; Experimental Literature.

Romantic and Post-Romantic Poetry; 20th Century British and Irish Poetry.

Cold War culture; technology; technologised spaces; American literature since 1900; genre fiction & film.

Modernism (especially Joyce, Yeats and Beckett); literature and science; Irish Studies; and modern and contemporary poetry.

Function, impact and influence of the Bible in contemporary culture, intersections of gender, race and class in popular cultural reappropriations of biblical characters and narratives, biblical literacy and popular culture

Twentieth-Century Poetry; Letter Writing, Contemporary Cinema.

British Cinema; British Television Drama; Space and Place in Film.

Stylistics; Cognitive Poetics; Text-Worlds; Absurdist Literature.

Stylistics; Romantic Literature; Dialect in Literature.

Victorian Literature and Science Writing; Sensation Fiction; the Periodical Press.

20th century Anglo-American poetry and poetics; editorial theory; textual studies; Ezra Pound; pedagogy

Modern and Contemporary American Poetry; Contemporary British Poetry; Interdisciplinarity (Art & Poetry); the Avant-Garde; the New York School; Phenomenology; Contemporary Theatre; Queer Theory; Creative Writing.

Modernist and Postmodernist Poetry and Poetics, - particularly the Modernist Ágnes Nemes Nagy's Poetry and Essays.

Robert Burns; Print Culture; Scottish Poetry; Eighteenth-Century Literature.

Twentieth Century Literature; Animal Studies; Postcolonialism.

Victorian Literature and Culture; Ecocriticism; Animal Studies; Colonialism/Postcolonialism/Globalization.

Cheap Print; Literature of the 1650s; Royalism; Seventeenth-Century Journalism; The Works of Sir William Davenant.

War Studies; Modernist Literature; Translation; Contemporary Poetry.

Modernism; British and global Anglophone literature; war studies; short fiction; narrative; film

Australasian Cinema; Cinema and Landscape; Naval Films; Genre Films.

Victorian Literature; Auto/Biography; Gender and Sexuality; Adaptation Studies.

Early Modern Religious Writing; Sermons; John Donne.

Early modern drama; Shakespeare; Marlowe; playing companies.

Early Modern Literature; Dialogue; Sonnets; Humanism.

Nineteenth Century Literature, Gothic, literature and Science.

Colonial Culture; Exile Narratives; History of Linguistic Ideas; Arts Practice; Grammar and Rhetoric.

Medieval Literature; Medieval Drama in Performance.

Early modern and medieval literature, print culture, periodisation, postcolonial literature.

Literature and Trauma; Contemporary Fiction; Literary Theory.

American Literature; Race and Gender Studies; Whiteness in Literature.

American Literature; Sports Culture; African-American Literature and Film; Auto/Biography; and 1970s Culture.

Modern and Contemporary Literature; Holocaust Studies; Film.

Gospel of John, Revelation, Meals in the Greco-Roman World, Early Judaism, Ancient Romance Novels, Pseudepigrapha, Senses in Antiquity

Stylistics; Cognitive Poetics; Emotion; Reader Response.

Romanticism; Gothic; Eighteenth-Century Literature; Translation; Women's Writing.


Historical Sociolinguistics; Historical Pragmatics; World Englishes.

Syntax; Semantics; Generative Second Language Acquisition.

Academic writing; English for specific and academic purposes; Materials and textbook design; Corpus-driven pedagogy.

English for Specific Purposes, Second Language Writing, Corpus Linguistics, Language Teacher Education, Reformed Christian Discourse.

Medieval Irish Literature; Translation into/from Irish.

Sociolinguistics; sociophonetics; second language acquisition; acquisition of variation in a second language; mixed methods research; ethnography.

Dialectology, Sociolinguistics, Varieties of English, Perceptual Dialectology, Folk Linguistics, Language Attitudes.

Identity; Gender; Dialectology; Ethnography; Style; Language Variation and Change.

Critical Discourse Analysis; Corpus-based CDA; Identity; Political Discourse; Ageing and the Elderly.

Syntax; First language acquisition; Prosody/Intonation; Experimental methodology

Syntax of Light Verb Constructions

Phonology; Phonetics; Historical Linguistics; Psycholinguistics; Comparative Philology.

Phonetics; Conversation Analysis; Phonetics of talk-in-interaction.

Historical (Im)politeness and Pragmatics; Early English Letters; Digital Corpora; Palaeography.


20th Century Political Theatre(s): Applied Theatre: Theatre Historiography

Physical Theatre; Shakespeare in Performance; Contemporary European Theatre.

Theatre & Performance; Contemporary Playwrights; British Political Theatre; Theatre Censorship.

Experimental Theatre Practices; Contemporary Performance; Live Art.

The Roles of Different Types of Supervisor

Primary supervisors

Primary supervisors are responsible for all communications regarding the student's progress to their funding body, to faculty and to the course manager. The primary supervisor is responsible for scheduling meetings, commenting on drafts, and determining the overall pattern of work in negotiation with the student.

Second Supervisors

Second supervisors are responsible for providing general support and advice as appropriate (for instance on issues in their areas of specialised competence such as methodology). In the first month of registration the student should meet at least once with their second supervisor. In some instances it may be appropriate for particular supervisory sessions to involve both primary and secondary supervisors. This is a matter of negotiation between the supervisors and the student.

Joint Supervisors

We would normally expect supervision sessions to involve both supervisors. This is especially the case in the first semester. At the end of the first semester the supervisors and student should have negotiated how they want the supervision to be shared and the responsibilities of each supervisor.

Supervision meetings

For full-time research students, we would expect supervisory meetings to be held once per month. Allowing for holidays, this would equate to a minimum of 10 supervisory sessions per year. For part-time students we would expect a minimum of six meetings per year. In the first semester of registration supervisory meetings will probably need to be more frequent and as a general rule meetings should be once every two weeks.

Next steps

Getting in contact

Once you have found a suitable supervisor, please email them directly to ensure that they have availability. You may wish to provide some information on your proposed research as well, to make sure that it is in area they are able to supervise.

At any step in the process, you can also email english@sheffield.ac.uk for information about the application process.

Click here for advice on writing your research proposal